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Path of Exile 2’s skill tree has a great way to help Diablo 4 converts

With Diablo 4 inspiring many new ARPG players, Path of Exile 2’s director talks about how it helps guide newcomers through build crafting.

Path of Exile 2 - A huntress draws her bow.

Path of Exile 2 game director Jonathan Rogers says there are aspects of the game he wants to make clearer to players, including more useful tooltips to help quickly judge how new gear will affect your builds. But as the long-awaited sequel to one of the best free PC games ever shapes up to go head-to-head with Blizzard’s Diablo 4 and new ARPG challenger Last Epoch, Rogers says “it’s important that the game doesn’t take the mystery out too early.”

Path of Exile 2 is shaping up to be a pretty dramatically different game from its predecessor – so much so, in fact, that the pair will now coexist as two separate games, with your microtransactions able to be used across both of the free games (providing they’re not for a feature exclusive to just one of the games, of course). In a new interview with Twitch streamers Ghazzy ‘GhazzyTV’ Bodensjö and Casey ‘Darth Microtransaction,’ Rogers and fellow Grinding Gear Games developer Mark ‘Neon’ Roberts talk about their plans to make build crafting easier in the upcoming game.

Try looking anything up about Path of Exile builds online and you’ll almost immediately find yourself directed to Path of Building, a fantastic third-party tool that many players use to plan out and share their builds. It’s a very powerful way to pre-calculate your passive skill tree layout and even the endgame gear you’re hoping to get and work out exactly how it’ll affect each of your skills. While it’s very powerful, it’s quite an advanced tool and really relies on a lot of pre-existing knowledge on the player’s part.

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“Maybe what we actually need to do is whenever you hover over a skill in the passive tree it should tell you what the DPS change will be on all of your skills – what the end result will be,” Rogers says. With how many different ways items and passive skills can boost your stats, many of which are essentially useless if they don’t fit your chosen build, that sounds like a huge accessibility improvement. “So that is a feature that we’re going to have in PoE 2.”

Rogers emphasizes, however, that the team isn’t keen on implementing a full Path of Building style planning tool into the game itself. “It’s one thing to show you what an item you actually have in your inventory will do on your character,” he explains. “If there’s a Path of Building style tool in the game, that’s the game telling you that you’re supposed to use it.”

Rogers stresses that he doesn’t want new players to feel like they have to plan their build out ahead of time. “Of course, many, many people want to look online for a build guide, they want to follow that build guide, and they find that fun – and that’s absolutely fine. But I do think that it is important that the game allows you to have that organic experience of just playing it and discovering things.”

Path of Exile 2 skill tree tooltips - A screenshot of 'Path of Building,' a popular community tool for build crafting in the ARPG.

I can certainly understand the concern; the PoE community has a real tendency to min-max, often spending days crafting their builds before a new league even begins, but that full-on approach can absolutely be off-putting to newcomers. If Path of Exile 2 hopes to bring in some of the wider audience who were enticed by Diablo 4 as their first ARPG, it’s important that they can get in and enjoy themselves without feeling overwhelmed – even if that means their build isn’t perfectly optimized for the late endgame.

Rogers does offer one olive branch to the hardcore veterans, however. “We made a system a while back which we probably will put in PoE 2, where you can get a build file and import it and it will highlight the nodes on your tree that you’re supposed to take.” So while you might not be able to pre-plan your setup in-game, you won’t need to tab out to check your Path of Building window every time you level.

As the Path of Exile 2 release date nears, we took the time to speak with Rogers about the introduction of Path of Exile 2 WASD movement. You might also fancy taking a look at more of the best games like Diablo while you wait.

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